5 min read

Medium vs. Ghost

Which is better for publishing your content online? Here's my review.
Medium vs. Ghost

As writers and creatives, we should always be striving to find the best platform for publishing our work. We desire to win!

So we need the right tools to achieve success.

Having spent the last 16 years designing WordPress websites, writing content, selling courses and coaching, and offering membership subscriptions, I’ve learned a lot about the strategies and tech stack.

Yet the landscape is constantly changing. What worked five years ago might not work today.

This is one reason of many I walked away from WordPress.

I didn’t find it valuable to my needs and goals anymore. The platform has become bloated and complicated, less user friendly, and frankly just annoying. Plus it’s not worth it for the additional costs.

So even though it’s a real pain in the ass to move content and deal with the shitty import/export features for any platform, I have no regrets.

As I planned out my business strategies for 2004 I knew my focus would be on writing first, creativity second.

My objective was finding the best publishing platform based on these five following criteria:

  • User Experience
  • Features (e.g. email newsletter and subscription options)
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Community + Support
  • Price

When it came down to the solutions I settled on these three options: MediumSubstack, and Ghost.

Of course there are others out there, and I’ve also got my opinions of Substack, but for now I want to focus on the ones I’ve chosen for myself.

How do they stack up against each other?

I’ve written about writing on Medium and my strategy for making money on this platform, so please feel free to read those if interested.

But let’s work through breakdown of each shall we?


Hands down, Medium is the easiest platform to get started with. For a writer, it’s a breath of fresh air to simply focus on your craft.

Setting up your account and subscribing to monthly membership is simple. You can choose to write for free, but it’s well worth $5 per month. I’d wait on the Friend of Medium level. 🤷‍♂️

The User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) is very clean and minimal; it doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure your way around.

You have several options for sizing your own photos or the free stock photos from the Unsplash collection. You can add up to five tags for your article, choose when to publish, and manage your paid or free settings, among other things.

It’s very basic but effective.

The SEO feature gives you what you need. Nothing more.

As for SEO on Medium, you can modify your title, description, and permalink. Nothing more, nothing less. But I can say it’s enough because I’m constantly ranking at the top of Google for articles. 👍🏼👍🏼

The community aspect also shines here.

It’s rewarding to get the clap (yes, pun intended) and having readers comment fairly quickly. When you’re just starting out this is important .🙏

While we all want to make money from our writing, having people engage can make the difference between moving forward or quitting.

Overall, Medium is great for newbies and experienced creatives alike.


Ghost is an independent and open source publishing platform. Technically this means no one owns it and you can develop on it freely.

While you can self host Ghost just like WordPress, I don’t want to deal with technical bullshit even if I could save a some money.

I choose the Starter level at $11 per month/$9 per month if paid annually ($108.00 USD). I also have the Creator level for other sites.

Setting up your Ghost account takes a little more work and thought process because you are treating this like a traditional website. Therefore you have more options for branding, SEO, and layouts.

The User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) is also clean and minimal compared to competitors.

The dashboard is very simple to navigate. It won’t take you long how to figure out how to publish posts, create pages, launch your membership, or set up discounts.

Which brings me to the next important feature → Subscriptions and Newsletters! 🔥🔥🔥

Ghost provides you with the opportunity to sell your subscriptions much like Substack, only they don’t take 10% from you. If you build a great business model with recurring revenue, this is a huge deal.

It’s much cheaper to pay a yearly or monthly fee to Ghost.

Depending on the level you choose, you can also add several different newsletters. So if you want to have one for business, travel, and culture for example, it’s easy to separate them for your audience.

What about SEO?

It gives you about the same basic options as Medium and it works well enough. Some of my articles rank high and others not at all.

The benefit to Medium is they have great Domain Authority, page ranking, and volume so it will take more work with Ghost.

Finally, Ghost does have a good community, learning resources, and support. Plus you can use your own domain name and find other incredible benefits you don’t get with Medium.

Overall, Ghost is perfect for writers and creatives who want to own their website and build a brand.

Who Wins between Ghost and Medium?

If I had to choose one winner, based on everything I know and have experienced in the digital business world, it would be Ghost with a TKO!

It offers almost everything you need to kick ass online.

Medium is better for starting and growing an audience. Ghost is perfect for building and sustaining a lifestyle business.

But my strategy is using both.

I love the community engagement here and the SEO tactics I can use, but long-term I see JamesDalman.com being the ultimate winner for my goals and purpose. 👊

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for my Ghost only article.